Caring for Older Cats

Have you noted any changes in your cat’s energy levels recently? Cats are adorable and endearing at every stage of their lives, but they become particularly adorable when they reach their senior years. Although cats are generally self-sufficient and low-maintenance pets, your beloved feline might need additional attention and care as she grows older. Below is some helpful advice from a Plano, TX veterinarian.

When Do Cats Reach Their Senior Years?

There is some confusion surrounding the comparison between cat years and human years. You may have come across the widespread notion that one human year is equivalent to seven cat years. That is not exactly accurate. For example, the crucial (and oh so adorable) first year of Fluffy’s life is approximately equivalent to 10-12 human years. The second year would bring your beloved pet to approximately the equivalent of 24 years of human age. After that, the differences aren’t quite as drastic.

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, Fluffy’s official retirement age is ten. Other sources say nine. Some people consider cats to be seniors when they reach the age of seven! The reasoning there is likely that, in general, a seven-year-old cat is roughly equivalent to a 45-year-old human. That is roughly middle age for humans. At around nine or ten, kitties begin to benefit from more frequent veterinary visits …  even if they still act like kittens at that point.

What Are Some Common Health Issues That Older Cats May Experience?

As cats age, they become more susceptible to various health issues. Some of these conditions include cancer, diabetes, arthritis, hyperthyroidism, vision problems, and dental issues, among others.

It’s important to stay alert for any signs of illness between veterinary appointments. It’s important to note that cats have a natural inclination to be secretive about this. Fluffy may attempt to conceal her symptoms until is quite sick!

Here are some of the things to look for:

  • Changes In Appetite
  • Increased/Decreased Thirst
  • Increased/Decreased Urination
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Stumbling
  • Withdrawal
  • Uncharacteristic Behavior Or Vocalizations
  • Discharge
  • Limping
  • Lesions, Lumps, Bumps
  • Skin Irritation
  • Hair Loss
  • Changes in appetite
  • Increased thirst and/or urination

Unkempt fur is often a sign of cat illness. It’s not uncommon for older kitties to appear somewhat unkempt. One thing to note is that they may struggle with grooming themselves. Bending and stretching can be a bit of a challenge for older cats, because they can be rather stiff and achy. In addition, their skin tends to produce a lot of oil.

When it comes to pet care, it is always a good idea to err on the side of caution. If you observe anything out of the ordinary, get in touch with your Plano, TX veterinarians right away.

How Can I Best Care For My Older Cat?

Your furry, meowing retiree will require the same essentials as any other kitty: high-quality food, clean water, a well-maintained litterbox, and routine veterinary check-ups. You will need to begin making subtle changes, though. 

First, let’s discuss diet. Your veterinarian will provide you with guidance on the transition to a senior-formula food. Fluffy may need to eat more or less, transition from kibble to canned food, or vice versa. Take care not to overfeed her. You don’t want your furball to become a butterball!

Ensure that your pet always has access to clean and fresh water. It would be advisable to begin monitoring her water consumption. A helpful tip is to consistently fill her bowls at the same time every day. If you have a big house, arrange additional water stations, particularly during the warmer months.

Of course, you’ll also need to bring your feline buddy to your Plano, TX vet regularly. 

How Can I Create A Cozy Environment For My Elderly Feline Friend At Home?

Fluffy will never grow out of her love of boxes and sunbeams, and she will continue to appreciate cat grass. However, you will notice some changes. Your feline pal might become incredibly affectionate, and might prefer snuggling on your lap rather than playing with catnip mice. Small gestures can make a significant difference here! Providing Fluffy with kitty comforts will go a long way towards keeping her purring.


Similar to humans, cats may encounter vision problems as they age. It might prove challenging for Fluffy to navigate through a dimly lit house at nighttime. Place small nightlights around her.


Your cute pet may find it more challenging to jump and climb than she once did. She might also experience a slight lack of coordination, increasing her risk of accidents. Provide pet ramps or stairs to help your furry friend access her favorite spots on beds and couches. You can utilize items such as chests and footstools for this as well.

A Room With A View

It’s always better to keep kitties indoors, for their safety. Many cats find birdwatching to be a highly enjoyable pastime. Fluffy absolutely enjoys napping, basking in the sun, and observing birds and squirrels. Provide your pet with a cozy window perch that offers a delightful vantage point.


Entertainment and stimulation are important for senior cats as well. Playing is very important here. Your pet may not be as energetic as she once was, but she’ll still find joy in embracing her wild side occasionally. Additionally, this will contribute to your cat’s overall physical fitness.

Much like humans, older cats may experience cognitive decline. Playing can also be helpful in this regard. Kitties have to concentrate on the small red dot in order to time those tricky pounces accurately! Simply having a radio playing in the background can contribute to a more stimulating and enriching environment.

Lounging Spots

Senior cats are expert nappers, capable of snoozing for up to 20 hours a day. It takes Fluffy years of dedicated practice to achieve such a remarkable ability to sleep for extended periods of time. Ensure that your tired pet has a wide selection of beds and cozy spots to rest in! One option is to get a cute storage ottoman or bench. Place a cozy blanket on top, one that complements your interior design.

Litterbox Setup

Some pets may struggle to enter or exit a litterbox with tall walls. Choose a product specifically designed for seniors. These are typically more accessible for older cats to enter and exit. It would be beneficial to have litter boxes on every floor of your house. It might be worth considering experimenting with various litters. Some can detect hormonal changes that could suggest a medical issue. Ask your vet for advice.

What Can I Do To Make Sure My Older Cat Is Happy?

Fluffy will sleep most of the time, which makes it easy to care for her. In addition to the things we listed above, just make sure to give your furry companion plenty of attention. Talk to her, play with her, brush her, and just let her curl up on your lap. Most of all, just make sure that Fluffy feels loved and secure. Senior kitty purrs are truly priceless!

Make An Appointment At Your Plano, TX Vet Clinic

Do you need any information or advice regarding the care of senior cats? Don’t hesitate to contact us, your Plano, TX veterinary clinic, whenever you need assistance. We are delighted to assist you!

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